all i could ever ask

It is 4:12 a.m., and while my sole desire is to sleep, it has not been my friend for more than 2 hours now. I've been lying in bed, tossing and turning, my thoughts twisting between fantasy and reality as I've ascertained that simply willing my brain to take a break is not going to work. So I figured I'd do what I do best: ramble on about nothing and call it a blog.

As my previous posts have mentioned, I've been working on a novel, After the Fall, since November 1 of this year. I'd say it's going well, as I'm currently 67,000 words, or close to 250 pages, in. I will not be completing this novel, well, today, which means I will not successfully complete this particular novel in 30 days. However, I've met NaNoWriMo's 50,000-word goal, so shhh, we won't tell anyone. I could rush the story and probably wrap it up in 5-6k words, but I'd only be dooming myself to dissatisfaction, and after months of my subconscious whispering its pleas of inadequacy, would be forced to pick it up again, delete in entirety the crappy, rushed ending, and rewrite until it is truly the story it needs to be.

Although my novel is about zombies, or Seconds as I largely refer to them [short for second-class citizens], the heart of the book is this: What happened to Cassie Salt? My main character, Charlie, is Cassie's younger sister, and in a post-apocolyptic world of chaos, watches her parents turn into these horrific creatures right before she leaves her rural home to seek out the Safe Zone of Fargo, ND, where her sister has also been turned and disappeared without a trace. The key to getting through any story, whether it's 5k, 50k, or 100k words, is to have a clear objective while you're writing. What are you trying to accomplish? What kind of journey would you like to have along the way? And please, for the love of God, create some characters with dimension. Give them choices to agonize over, hearts to break, lessons to learn. My bet is that life isn't easy for you, so translate that into your story. I hate it that everything I write is entirely a reflection of myself. It pains me to no end that I've given complete strangers the power to so easily read into my life. But what can I do about it? Abso-freaking-lutely nothing. [I was singing that last sentence in my mind as I wrote it, if that helps.]

One interesting thing about publicizing that I'm working on this novel is that everybody automatically assumes I'm going to seek publication when all is said and done. I've had a lot of people tell me that they can't wait to see it in print. W-w-what? For the record, I have no current plans to have this published. But I can tell you this—there will be a second book. At least a second book. As if teasing you like that is going to win me any brownie points...

If I may quote Bright Eyes, [and it's now 4:29 a.m., and I don't care, so I will] from their marvelous wrap-up "Let's Not Shit Ourselves" on probably the best album ever recorded, Lifted: "I do not read the reviews; No, I am not singing for you." Art, whether it's music, or writing, or painting, or whatever, has to come from you. We all copy when we get started, that's human nature. Pretty much every story I wrote in Jr. High was a knock-off of a Christopher Pike novel, because that's who I read back then. But eventually, as you mature in your craft, you have to find your own voice—your own way of telling the story that's unique to you. And when you somehow magically stumble upon this revelation, you'll see that the mere act of creating anything brings you such pleasure that it doesn't matter if anyone else gets to see it. You get to see it, this wonderful, amazing, epic thing that you've created, and that's enough.

I write what I write for myself, and no matter where this road leads me, that's not going to change. I hope that despite my shortcomings, you're able to see through my writing to its core, to the sweat and blood and tears that went into its creation, and take something away from it that you've never felt before. That's all I could ever ask...

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